Biden Speaks of Grief at Anniversary of Birmingham Church Bombing – Courthouse News Service

Biden Speaks of Grief at Anniversary of Birmingham Church Bombing - Courthouse News Service
Biden bemoans white supremacy in remarks at civil rights movement site | TheHill
For inquiries related to this message please contact our support team and provide the reference ID below.

Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden spoke Sunday morning at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham on the anniversary of the 1963 bombing that killed four young girls, talking about how America must come together in defining moments of history.

Biden Draws Domestic Terror Line From Birmingham to El Paso

The church also celebrated its newly updated Memorial Nook Sunday, which has displayed mementos of the bombing in the basement where the blast happened for decades. The area included the clock that stopped at 10:22 a.m. on Sept. 15, 1963, the moment of the bombing that killed 14-year-old Addie Mae Collins, 11-year-old Denise McNair, 14-year-old Carole Rosamond Robertson, and 14-year-old Cynthia Wesley.

Joe Biden attends Sixteenth Street Baptist Church memorial service Sunday

This is not a symbolic loss, Biden said. "…that transfixed the world and inspired a whole nation. Its personal. And even 56 years later, its tragic. He said, "that blast took aim at the very foundations of this community in 1963.

“Racism has reared its head in a way thats frightening for those of us who lived through it before,” Lewis said, who said he was at home, about “20 blocks from here” when the Klan bomb went off at 10:22 a.m. on Sept. 15, 1963. “No matter what anyone says, what comes out of the president of the United States mouth means more than anything,” Lewis added, saying Trump “has brought out some nastier times in this countrys history.”

Biden attended the 56th anniversary memorial service Sunday school to commemorate the bombing and spoke before the bells tolled, marking the moment when the bomb went off more than five decades ago.

What would she have done?: Biden evokes death of baby daughter on anniversary of murders of four girls in Alabama church bombing

Sunday school was taught by U.S. Air Force Chaplain Lt. Col. Ruth N. Segres, and Biden spoke following Segres. The church bells rang at 10:22 a.m., as members of the four little girls families stood.

Biden, 76, a front-runner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, said the tragedy shook his generation “to its core” and helped “us realize working on the fringes of the movement was not enough.” He also linked the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, which he described as a moment “so stark” it divided “all that came before from all that came after,” and the recent spate of white supremacy-linked domestic terrorism, saying the events force “us to confront difficult truths.”

Following the bells toll, Biden participated in a wreath laying service outside the church, at the wall where the blast happened. He was joined by Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and U.S. Sen. Doug Jones.

The same poisonous ideology that lit the fuse at 16th Street pulled the trigger in Mother Emanuel, unleashed the anti-Semitic massacre in Pittsburgh and Poway, and saw a white supremacist gun down innocent Latino immigrants in an El Paso parking lot with military-grade weapons declaring it would stop a quote Hispanic invasion of Texas, Biden said, in remarks also previewed by his campaign. Before and after Charlottesville our nation will never be the same,” he added.

The service began at 11 a.m., preached by South Carolina Rev. Eric S.C. Manning, pastor of The Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. Mother Emanuel AME was the site of a June 2015 shooting by white supremacist Dylann Roof, who killed nine members of the church during Bible study. Roof was sentenced to death by a federal jury in 2017.

Biden, who was greeted by a standing ovation Sunday, polls well with black Democrats, according to a slew of early primary-focused surveys. The front-runners verbal missteps have nevertheless rankled members of the African American community at times. During the third Democratic debate, for example, he suggested black parents “dont know quite what to do” with their children when asked about the lingering affects of slavery.

Its an honor to be here," Biden said when he took the podium earlier in the morning. "The love in this church is kind of overwhelming. He also shook the hand of the young girl who sang before his remarks, and called her magnificent.

In 1963, four known Ku Klux Klansmen murdered Addie Mae Collins, 14, Carol Denise McNair, 11, Carole Robertson, 14, and Cynthia Wesley, 14, when dynamite they planted under the churchs steps detonated near the group, who were changing into their choir robes in the basement. More than 20 other people were hurt in the incident, which sparked national outrage and built momentum behind the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Biden said in his speech, before the bells tolled marking the moment the fatal bomb went off 56 years ago, I am sure, in those first hours after the bomb exploded— it was hard to see through the smoke and rubble to a day like today, he said.

"And as we all now realize, this violence does not live in the past. The same poisonous ideology that lit the fuse at 16th Street pulled the trigger in Mother Emanuel [in Charleston], unleashed the anti-Semitic massacre in Pittsburgh and Poway [California], and saw a white supremacist gun down innocent Latino immigrants in an El Paso parking lot with military-grade weapons."

We Have Never Conquered Racist Hate With American Exceptionalism

As Dr. King eulogized those girls- perhaps not even he could have imagined the day nearly 50 years later- when this nations first black president would award them the Congressional Gold Medal—one of our highest civilian honors. It is only with persistent effort… It is only with fortitude in our actions… It is only with faith in ourselves and the future that may yet be… That change comes— sometimes slowly, sometimes all at once— and progress continues," Biden said.

He talked about the 1963 bombing and compared it to other acts of violence in America like Charlottesville, Charleston, and El Paso. ″Hate is on the rise again, were at a defining moment again in American history," Biden said. "Who are we? What do we want to be? After Charlottesville, I said that I believed were at a battle for the soul of America. I say it again today, were at the battle for the soul of America.

"The domestic terrorism of white supremacy has been the antagonist of our highest ideals from before our founding — lynch mobs, arsonists, bomb makers and lone gunmen."

When our nation must again decide who we are what we stand for…. We remember the moment when time stopped and then remember everything that came after. And we choose once more to fight for a shared American dream.

Biden also talked about the Charleston shooting at Mother Emanuel AME, ahead of Mannings sermon, saying the 1963 bombing pulled the trigger on events like the shooting at Mother Emanuel. Biden remembered visiting the church when the nine church members were gunned down in June 2015. I was astounded by the amazing grace of those parishioners, the families of the victims, how quickly… (they were to) forgive the killer. I was dumbfounded, Biden said.

This summer, Biden has come under criticism for June comments fundraiser about his past work with segregationist senators decades ago and, more recently, for an answer he delivered at Thursdays presidential debate in response to a question about reparations and the lasting effect of slavery. Biden responded in part that social workers are needed to “help parents deal with how to raise their children because “they dont know quite what to do,” suggesting solutions such as keeping a “record player” on at night so that young children can learn more words.

Hate only hides, it doesnt go away, the candidate said. We have not relegated racism and white supremacy to the pages of history. But the greatness of this nation has always been and must continue to be that we still strive… When whats at stake matter the most, when we decide who we are and, maybe more importantly, who we want to be.

The Sixteenth Street Baptist Churchs newly renovated memorial area ribbon cutting was set to happen after the service. The basement will still have the iconic clock, but the room where it had been displayed was converted into a movie-viewing room for the documentary 10:22, about the bombing and the eulogy for the girls given by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The former vice president talked about his own journey into public service inspired by the civil rights movement, and how the attack in Birmingham helped us realize working on the fringes of the movement was not enough.” He said he became a public defender and ultimately ran for office because of it and the response to the assassination of MLK.

Another video board in the basement will display messages for visitors and play videos of oral histories, and the walls will be adorned with historical exhibits.

Biden highlighted prominent hate crimes of the past decade, including the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the 2015 mass shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, and the 2018 mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, as proof that “violence does not live in the past.”

Bidens appearance comes days after the latest Democratic debate, where 10 candidates debated why they should receive the presidential nomination for next years election. His remarks also come after 59 African American state legislators from 15 states announced their endorsements of Biden on Thursday.

In his 20-minute speech, Biden recounted the impact the bombing had on the Civil Rights movement, most notably the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But Biden also emphasized the importance of remembering the bombings personal cost. With a handful of relatives of the four slain girls in attendance, Biden, who lost his wife and one-year-old daughter in 1972, shared the pain of families that lose children at a young age.

According to information from Bidens campaign, a total of 76 African American state legislators nationwide have endorsed Biden. One Alabama state representative, Juandalyn Givan, was on the list of those endorsing Biden on Thursday.

Biden has also rebutted critics of his record on race by pointing to his service as vice president to the nations first black president. Hes closely hewed to former President Barack Obamas legacy throughout the campaign, and he invoked Obama multiple times on Sunday — including the former presidents speech after the shooting in Charleston when he sang Amazing Grace.

Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, the site of a 1963 bombing that killed four girls and became a turning point for the civil rights movement, prepares to observe the 56th anniversary on Sept. 15.

He added: The same poisonous ideology that lit the fuse at 16th Street pulled the trigger in Mother Emanuel, unleashed the anti-Semitic massacre in Pittsburgh and Poway, and saw a white supremacist gun down innocent Latino immigrants in an El Paso parking lot with military-grade weapons declaring it would stop a Hispanic invasion of Texas.


Posted in Birmingham